Could the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Guardians be trade partners if the Rockies are looking to move on from one of their starting outfielders from Opening Day 2021?
In a mid-October article ranking the assets with the highest possibility of being traded by the Colorado Rockies, Nick Groke of The Athletic listed Raimel Tapia at the top of Colorado’s list. The 27-year-old outfielder was the starting left fielder for the Rockies on Opening Day this past season and had moments of magic at the plate and in the field, but they were too few and far between. His OPS+ of 80 in 533 plate appearances with a ground ball rate of 67.4% (the highest single-season number for any qualified batter since 2012) has the Rockies wondering if Tapia is still a fit in Denver.
If the Colorado Rockies are looking to trade Raimel Tapia, could the Cleveland Guardians be a potential destination?
With Tapia out of minor league options but still with two years of team control, wherever he lands next year will have to be ready to insert him into the lineup. He’ll enter arbitration when the current lockout is over, and it’s estimated that he will earn just under $4 million next season. While it’s not a large sum of money, it will make whatever team were to trade for him ensure that he can contribute in some way.
That’s where the Cleveland Guardians could fit in. After Cleveland traded Eddie Rosario to Atlanta just before the 2021 trade deadline, Harold Ramirez earned the most starts in left field for Cleveland with 43 starting nods. Oscar Mercado was not far behind with 36 and no other Cleveland outfielder had more than seven starts. Ramirez and Mercado both bat right-handed, meaning Tapia’s left-handed bat could be a plus in the left field mix.
Tapia’s 20 stolen bases would rank second for Cleveland in 2021, so his speed could be an asset for the Guardians as well.
One of the decisions the Rockies will have to make this offseason is if Tapia has a future with the team. If Colorado decides to move on from Tapia, Cleveland could be a destination that could use him, giving him a fresh start and the Rockies a prospect or two in return.